With the Bruins set to open up its first season in the Big East Conference in 2019, the recruiting trail is not without obstacles.
The Bruins have an opportunity to build on a promising recruiting class, but the obstacles can be more daunting than the talent, said L.J. Sturgess, the former president of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee.
Sturgess’ comments come as the NCAA has been working on changes to the way it assesses recruits.
The NCAA will be moving toward using data-driven assessments of prospects to rank teams and assign them points, which will give teams a better sense of their prospects’ potential.
Strict academic standards will also be required to receive the points.
“I’m not convinced they’re going to be as effective as they were before,” Sturgens said.
In the meantime, Sturgents thoughts on the upcoming recruiting class are mixed.
The 2018 class was the only one of the Big Ten to have a recruiting class that ranked among the top 10.
The next class, which is expected to be a top-10 class, will be no different.
However, that doesn’t mean UCLA’s class will be a slam dunk.
The Bruins are one of a handful of teams that will be able to get an edge on other schools by relying on a combination of size, length and athleticism, Strict said.
“There’s no question that a big-time athlete is going to come into this program and will have an advantage,” he said.
The top five recruits in the 2019 class are likely to be 6-foot-10 wing players, which would give UCLA an edge over some other schools in the Pac-12.
While Sturgesses’ opinion of the UCLA class might not be as positive as some of his contemporaries, Strouds said the Bruins could potentially be able get some big-name recruits in later years.
“They’ll be able, with a few years of experience, to build their recruiting network and eventually get them to the Big Dance,” he told The Journal.
“It’s hard to imagine they won’t get some really good prospects.
However, Sturtes cautions that UCLA’s recruiting success could depend on the success of the current class.
UCLA is not expected to have any major departures in the class.
For instance, senior guard and captain James Johnson, a five-star prospect who is currently committed to Kentucky, could be among the five recruits who decide to transfer to the Bruins next season.
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